twig in a streamIt has often been said that models and approaches based on the sciences, sports, nature, passtimes, personal interactions, games, war, stars, arts, dance, music, mining, food, psychology — what have I left out? — are too fuzzy, too disparate, too out of whack, to be of use for market profits, and often one wonders oneself. However, I like to test things inspired by the above, and I couldn't resist testing the stream carrying a leaf or twig to the rock of 12 noon when the public has had a chance to be committed, and the squash games are over for the current trading day. One finds a big log carried down a fast stream, carrying all markets with it to noon — a rising tide, big — does not unduly lose its force by the afternoon with a t stat on the difference between means based on 120 observations of 2.5 and a 0.3% differential for the current decade for certain markets. Thus, the directions pointed to by a voltage divider are not entirely without analogy, albeit everchanging.

Rocky Humbert replies:

My daughter returned home last night from a week in the "Holy Land." (No, she wasn't an intern at Goldman Sachs. Rather, she and my wife spent the week visiting Eretz Yisrael.)My daughter regaled me with interesting stories of how they wandered through 3,000+ year old markets and ruins, and she taught me the difference between Israeli and Arab Falafel. (The Arabs add parsley: it tastes better than the Israeli version.)My daughter also asked a provocative question: "What are the odds that the world's three major religions' holy-of-holy would all be located within roughly one square mile? Indeed — what are the odds? What are the odds that the earth –much smaller than an microscopic dot in the context of the universe– came to exist purely as a statistical anamoly? Or what are the odds that human existence itself is an anomaly? That our ability to think, to create, to explore — is all a fluke? — a 6-sigma event?

Why does Vic feel much more comfortable gazing "down" — at "sciences, sports, nature, passtimes, personal interactions, games, war, stars, arts, dance, music, mining food, psychology" — instead of upwards — at the miracles of the creation, life, and the profound guidance provided by thousands of years of saints, prophets and scholars? Is there more knowledge in a DC Parallel Circuit than in the Midrash? In a Series Circuit than in the Talmud? In a leaf floating in a stream than the teachings of the Twelve Apostles?

Before anyone runs to sign up for Bible Study, I regret to announce that Talmud won't predict tomorrow's stock market behavior either. However, it is with incredible conviction that I say that figuring out one's place in the universe can make one an improved market participant, and this improvement is immune from ever changing cycles.

End of Sermon.

Nick White adds:

I think Mr. Taleb would also advocate such an outward looking nature as being beneficial to one's commercial activities.

Clyde Kilby — an English lit lecturer at Wheaton college also made the following resolutions which I've always found useful for both life and trading, (obvious agenda within, so please feel free to discount as appropriate to your world view and abstract to the general lessons)

1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.

2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death, when he said: “There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendour, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.”

3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

4. I shall not turn my life into a thin straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.

5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask *what *they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence.

7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the “child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.”

8. I shall follow Darwin’s advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.

9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, “fulfill the moment as the moment.” I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.

10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega.


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